The medic had received a special award in recognition of his contribution in the prevention of mother and child deaths bestowed by President John Magufuli when he held talks with doctors.
Speaking to various leaders of Mbeya region at the Regional Commissioner’s Office, Chotamganga said there is a big secret that he found in villages served by the dispensary.
He said when he arrived at the dispensary for the first time in 1993 he found there was a story of a woman who died when giving birth performed by a local midwife and when he followed up the issue he discovered the woman was the third to die in a very short period of time.
He said he continued to make follow ups and found out there were so many such mother and child deaths at birth and therefore started taking steps by incorporating the wananchi from all villages.
“I was asking myself – what were the causes of those deaths? Were they dying from flea bites or malaria? What I found out was that many were giving births at home conducted by local midwives,” he said.
He said after that he decided to start giving education to the people through various public meetings in the villages on the importance of giving birth at health centres, and abandon traditional midwives.
Chotamganga said the villagers understood and supported him in confronting the situation and formed a special committee composing of women – dubbed women commandos – whose task was to follow up the health of all pregnant women.
“We set up a procedure whereby any woman found to be pregnant, she and her spouse are taken by the so called women commandos up to the dispensary where they open up a medical card,” said Chotamganga.
He further said they introduced a 50,000/- fine to any woman who will deliver at a traditional midwife and a 5,000/- fine for a woman who does not attend clinic, the situation that forced many of them to give birth at the Uturo dispensary.
He said after implementing well the by-laws there haven’t been any mother and child deaths at birth in the area since 1999 and that the former traditional midwives were the ones who started mobilizing pregnant women to go the dispensary.
Mbeya Regional Administrative Secretary Mariam Mtunguja hailed Chotamganga for his exemplary services which had given Uturo dispensary a special status throughout Mbeya region.
She said the government plans to conduct a special campaign to fight mother and child deaths at birth that will be countrywide.
She called other health workers in the region to emulate Chotamganga’s services to the wananchi to save people’s lives.